Compression

Best Linux Multi-Core Compression Tools

Last Updated on May 23, 2022

With Fastest Compression

Most of the tools provide a flag to set the level of compression on a scale from 1 to 9. pxz and plzip and pixz scale from 0 to 9. This test uses the lowest available compression option.

All of the multi-core tools made fairly light work of compressing the tarball with their fastest compression option.

Multi-core compression

If you need to compress large files on a machine with a low powered multi-core machine, the fastest compression might be suitable. pigz compressed the 537MB tarball to 134MB in a whisker under 1.7 seconds. Most of the other tools shaved the tarball to around 100MB, and lrzip compressed the file to a mere 90MB.

Multi-core compression

Next page: Page 4 – Charts with Best Compression

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – Charts with Default Compression
Page 3 – Charts with Fastest Compression
Page 4 – Charts with Best Compression
Page 5 – lrzip with Different Compression Methods

Methodology used for the tests

We took a 537MB tarball of a popular source package. The tarball was copied to RAM (/dev/shm), and the tests ran in RAM on a quad-core CPU without hyper-threading (Core i5-2500K), with no X server running, and under negligible load.

Each test was run three times with the latest version (at the time of writing) of each multi-core compression tool. The average results are recorded in the charts above. The tests show the relative difference between the multi-core compression tools. They are for indicative purposes only.


Learn more about the features offered by the multi-core compression tool. We’ve compiled a dedicated page for each tool explaining, in detail, the features they offer.

Multi-Core Compression Tools
pigzParallel implementation of gzip. It's a fully functional replacement for gzip
PBZIP2Parallel implementation of the bzip2 block-sorting file compressor
PXZRuns LZMA compression on multiple cores and processors
lbzip2Parallel bzip2 compression utility, suited for serial and parallel processing
plzipMassively parallel (multi-threaded) lossless data compressor based on lzlib
lrzipCompression utility that excels at compressing large files
pixzParallel indexing XZ compression, fully compatible with XZ. LZMA and LZMA2
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Andy Turfer
Andy Turfer
4 years ago

Thank you so much! I’m going to try out some of these.

Michael D
Michael D
2 years ago

Some comparison between them would be very usefull

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

I did a similar study a few years ago and ended up using pbzip2 as my go-to compression utility.

The main reason is that it can do multi-core de-compression as well, unlike pigz.

The compression algorithm is fairly slow, so it works best when you have 30+ cores to throw at it.

Keep in mind that to use pbzip2 to de-compress with multiple cores, you need to compress with pbzip2 first. It adds some hints to the file to let the decompression know how to split up the work properly.

coucou
coucou
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Seems you brought me a solution, thanks !
Do you know if initramfs is using a single threaded kernel bzip2 routine or my /bin/pbzip2 for decompression at runtime ?

Cordialement.

coucou
coucou
2 months ago

Multicore compression : great ! But … all decompressions are done on a SINGLE core ! Why ?
I tried option to select the number of threads but in vain.

Any idea to do multicore decompression ?

Cordialement.

One sided Multicore